December 5, 2010
Teenage Advocate in Prison
My Name Is Navid Mohebbi
I am 18 years old and live in Iran.
I am in prison in Iran
"I don't know why my blogs which I update once a month or so would scare these people so much"
Repeatedly summoned for advocating women's rights
Navid was first interrogated in 2008 after attempting to organize events for International Womenís Day.
After two years of pressure and repeated summons, he was arrested again on September 18, 2010 at his fatherís home in Amol, Mazandaran Province, in northern Iran by the Caspian Sea.
Eight security officials raided his fatherís home and beat Navid during the arrest.
He was first held in a local revolutionary prison but later transferred to a general prison in Sari, the provincial capital of Mazandaran.
On November 14, Navid Mohebbi was charged with membership of the One Million Signatures Campaign, and support for the One Million Signatures Campaign, which advocates for freedom and equality for women.
He was also charged with acting against national security, propaganda against the state through connection with foreign media, insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini), insulting the current leader (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).
Prior to the trial, Navid was held in solitary confinement for over a month.
Prison officials told his family that he would not be released from solitary until he "showed remorse" for his actions.
For an 18-year old, even one with the strength and fortitude Navid has, solitary confinement can be psychologically damaging.
He was held without charge for nearly two months until November 14, when he was brought before a revolutionary tribunal in Amol.
The likelihood of Navid receiving a fair trial in such a setting is miniscule. In Iran, Islamic Revolutionary Courts try specific offenses that are seen as a threat to the existence of the Islamic State, such as endangering national security, conspiracy to undermine the Islamic Republic, insulting Islam, spreading corruption, inciting unrest and narcotics offenses.
Denial of basic rights
Navid was not permitted the counsel of his lawyer, Mina Jafari, although legal representation is guaranteed under international laws to which Iran is a signatory.
In addition to being denied legal representation, Navid is being held incommunicado in prison with ordinary prisoners, some of whom may be physically violent or otherwise dangerous.
He currently shares his small cell with a convicted murderer.
The prison is over capacity, sanitation and health services are lacking and the food's quality is terrible.
It is common for prisoners held in these conditions to fall ill and just as common for prison officials to deny them the necessary medical treatment.
Navid has not been permitted to have visits from his family or Ms. Jafari.
His family is under pressure not to contact media or publicize his case.
Navid's youth and activism for women make him a target and someone to be made example of by the Iranian regime, which fears both.
A bright and hard-working student, Navid was accepted into Tehran's Azad University to study Political Science.
Humanities and social science programs have come under attack by Iranian authorities, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei has criticized university social science programs for threatening religion. Education official Abolfazl Hassani announced changes to university programs in October, citing that the social sciences do not adhere to Islamic principles and are too "western" for Iranian universities. If the hard-line government can control education, they can, in their minds, control what the population thinks. Students like Navid who read feminist literature and dare to blog about equality and womenís rights are a threat to this attempted indoctrination.
The national security and propaganda charges are a favorite of this regime.
Many political prisoners, human and womenís rights activists, human rights lawyers and activist students are charged with variations of these charges. They are the foundation for lengthy prison sentences.
Destiny of Iranian web bloggers
On December 1, an appeals court confirmed a 15-year prison sentence for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. Hossein, also known as Babak Khorramdin, is also a web blogger and human rights activist.
Hossein was detained, held in solitary confinement and tortured in Evin Prison for over 305 days before his trial.
At one point Hossein's brother was tortured in front of him, in an attempt to pressure Hossein to make a televised false confession.
He found out about his sentence not from the court or even the judge, but from the court clerk, who forced him to sign and "accept" the sentence. What could possibly warrant a 15-year sentence? According to the Islamic Republic, 10 years for membership in an internet group called Iran Proxy, 1 year for propaganda against the regime, and 2 years each for insulting the Supreme Leader and insulting the President.
'Propaganda and threatening national security'
Many political prisoners, human and women's rights activists, human rights lawyers and activist students are charged with variations of charges of propaganda and threatening national security.
These charges are the foundation for lengthy prison sentences.
The underlying cause for Navid's charges is that he has been an ardent supporter of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Started in 2006, the campaign advocates freedom and equality for women. Although the organizers adhere to Iranian and Islamic laws, they have been targets of further oppression by the authorities.
Navid is the youngest known member or supporter of the One Million Signatures Campaign to be arrested.
Navid Mohebbi is especially unique in that he is a man dedicating and risking his life for womenís rights. His bravery in the face of oppression is a testament to the power of womenís rights.
The Writings of Navid Mohebbi.
Safe World's Iran Correspondent, Joanne Michele
Change for Equality
Reporters Without Borders
RAHANA News Agency (Farsi)
Global Voices Advocacy
The youngest blogger in prison
My Name Is Navid Mohebbi
I am 18 years old and live in Iran.
I was at university here studing Political Science, Humanities and Social science.
I am now the youngest blogger in prison
November 14th I was charged with:
Acting against national security
Propaganda against the state through connection with foreign media
Insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Insulting the current leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Membership in the One Million Signatures Campaign
Support for the One Million Signatures Campaign.
I write about Women's Equality and Equal Rights.
ONE OF MY BLOGS
Tuesday, March 9 Ė 2010 Collage of Hopes for March 8 (International Womenís Day)
"On this day, I am hoping for a world without violence and humiliation, and joy for the thousands of women in Darfur, Sudan who are suffering from homelessness and gang rapes,
Thousands of young girls in North Africa and other developing region who have to run away from home because their families wonít accept them if they fall in love with someone and will stone them to death,
For the thousands of young girls who are forcefully circumcised and their organs are mutilated, for the millions of women all around the world who face domestic violence, women whose lives and whose childrenís lives are endangered because of the lack of basic health care,
For the millions of women who are forced into prostitution by poverty, for the suffering women who donít even have access to the most basic right of education and women who are lashed for wearing pants in Somalia.
I also want for them to live without violence, discrimination, inequality and for them to have a better financial life as well as to have access to health care and education.
And for the women of my own country who are being brutally suppressed in the most vicious manner,
I wish a society without violence, oppression and without gender-specific violence."
MORE OF MY BLOGS
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Two Birthdays and Filtering Again
Birthday and Bad News
Thirteen days ago, January 27, was my birthday.
I always used to try to spend my birthday happily and wanted it to be a special day and different from other days of my life. This year, it was my 18th birthday. The 18th birthday gives one an interesting feel as one both becomes of legal age and gets new responsibilities.
I came to check the news on my birthday. The headline read: "Arash Rahmani and Ali Zamani Executed".
For a minute, I could not believe my eyes. Looking at the monitor, I was not sure the Islamic Republic would take such a big risk and create such anger and hatred towards itself. I thought theyíd be afraid of reactions from inside and outside the country and forgive these two innocent men and not execute them. But our calculations were wrong. They probably sat down and thought the February 11 [22 Bahman in the Persian calendar; the Islamic Republicís anniversary date] was coming and if these executions managed to scare even 50,000 people and stopped them from coming out to protest, it would be worth the risk.
Threat After Threat
This morning when I came to put a new blog entry on my website that I had written earlier, I realized that my blog had been filtered. My blog before this one had already been filtered. I donít have much time to write these days because Iím busy with preparing for the entry exam so I have been unable to write or check my blog. I donít know why my blogs which I update once a month or so would scare these people so much as to filter it within a couple of weeks of its creation.
I transferred all my blog archive to my new blog within half an hour without it costing me a dime while they spent money filtering my blog. We do not agree with them spending money to filter websites. If they had spent the money that they spend on filtering sites, sending viruses and worms to computers and other cyber attacks on useful things, things would be much better for us than what it is now. But alas, theyíve closed their ears and donít want to hear our heartfelt advice. Itís okay if they donít want to listen, though, it will harm them in the end. These censoring of websites really hurts their image in the publicís eye.
The First Birthday of the Blog
The 10th of February, happy first birthday to my blog! In the past year, I have written 37 entries and have been at your service. I am thankful to everyone for following my blog and giving me hope in the past year with your comments and suggestions. We are also thankful to those who used foul language and caused embarrassment for us. We are not upset with anyone and hope for forgiveness for everyone. Even though in the past year, I was unable to get to the blog and work on it as much as I wanted, there were still many visitors and Iím really happy because of this. We are also thankful to Blogfa who closed our blog and of Webgozar, which eliminated the stats for our blog several times out of jealousy.
Friday, April 16, 2010 Temporary Suspension of the Blog
Dear friends, Because of the weight of schoolwork, until further notice, this blog is suspended. I will be back soon. Goodbye.
Teenage Advocate in Prison
Petition to Free Navid Mohebbi, 18-year-old women's rights defender & blogger